Articles Posted in Truck and Tractor Trailer Accidents

O.K., the headline is funny, but the story is very sad. How sad? How about a one- and two- year old who are now motherless.

Today news sources report that the driver of a tractor trailer, who was streaming porn on his laptop while he drove his rig into the back of a disabled car on the New York State Thruway (near Pembroke, about 20 miles east of Buffalo), pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter. The disabled vehicle had run into a deer, and was waiting for a tow truck. Its driver, a mother of the one- and three- year olds, was killed by the impact from the tractor trailer.

Sure, watching porn while driving is what made the headlines. (Sex sells, even when it kills!). But this driver was guilty of other important violations as well. 395.3 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations mandates a driving/rest ratio for “commercial carriers” (essentially, tractor trailer drivers). The hours a commercial driver can drive within periods of time are strictly limited. Here, the driver didn’t get the required rest. He had only 4 hours of sleep in a 27-hour period. Worse still, the driver had “cooked the books” (actually, his driver’s “log”) in an attempt to dupe the authorities into believing he had followed the required rest/drive ratios. The authorities unearthed his lies by looking beyond his self-recorded “log”, and into his E-ZPass records and the GPS tracking for his 18-wheeler.

New York car accident lawyers like me are taking in more and more car crash cases where our clients were struck by a “texting” driver.

Why is texting while driving so dangerous? Research shows that texters take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that means a driver is traveling the length of a football field without looking at the road! Studies show that drivers who text while driving get into 20 times more accidents than non-distracted drivers.

Sure it’s dangerous for a car driver to text while driving, but think how much more damage a distracted tractor trailer driver can do while texting from his big rig. And that’s precisely why today U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a regulatory guidance that expressly outlaws “texting” by drivers of commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers and buses. The prohibition is effective immediately. Under the new rule, truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles can get slammed for up to $2,750 in civil or criminal penalties.

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